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Frozen Sump Pump and Discharge Line Prevention

In Milwaukee, it’s not uncommon for excessive rainwater to cause flooding and other damage to basements. To deal with this, many homeowners use a sump pump to remove the excess water and move it away from their homes. But in the winter months, it’s common to have a frozen sump pump discharge line. And if your discharge line is frozen, it prevents the pump from removing water from your basement. Left untreated, this can lead to potentially severe and costly problems.

Here are a few ways that you can avoid a frozen sump pump line during the cold season.

Inspect the Area Around Your Frozen Sump Pump

It’s important that you periodically check your discharge lines to ensure that they are working properly. Look around the area where the discharge line is emptied outside of your home. Be sure to remove any visible obstructions. This is especially important during the winter months as debris, snow, and ice can block the end of the line.

Furthermore, you can look out for these warning signs of a damaged sump pump:

  • Odors
  • Ice or snow blocking the line
  • Sump pump frequently turning off and on
  • Frozen discharge line
  • Clogged sump pump

You may also want to check that it is not discharging water that will eventually freeze, thus creating dangerously icy conditions in a spot that could cause you trouble. In other words, don’t let your sump pump discharge large quantities of water onto your driveway and sidewalk.

Insulate Your Frozen Sump Pump Discharge Lines

When it comes to insulating your discharge lines, there are a few options to choose from. In some cases, simply wrapping your discharge line and intake section with insulation will prevent the water from freezing. In addition, you can pick up a few items from your local hardware store to help with insulation.

Avoid using automotive anti-freeze on your sump pump. Instead, heat tape is an excellent source to wrap your pipes and prevent them from freezing.

Insulating the discharge lines and intake section is a great way to make sure that water remains warm and moves about freely. Also, this can help keep those parts of your sump pump from being damaged by external elements and help you contain any leaks that may have occurred.

Keep Your Water Running

Not only does water freeze when it is especially cold, but it freezes when it isn’t moving. If water is unable to flow throughout your home, the water within your sump pump is more likely to freeze. If this happens, the sump pump will no longer work. Additionally, redirecting some of the excess water away from the basement will help to lessen your sump pump’s workload. Overall, this prevents it from overworking itself and lowers the risk of a frozen discharge line.

Add a Slight Slope to Your Sump Pump

Gravity provides one of the easiest methods to prevent a frozen discharge line and keep the water flowing. Keep the water flowing by letting gravity do the work for you.

Try to make the sump pump lines go at a slope instead of a straight line. Even if you don’t have a natural slope, you can make one. You can create a slide that turns into a drop-off or even a trench at the end of the sump pump line.

Call Ihn Company

It’s not too late to check over your sump pump and drainage line to ensure everything is working properly. If you’re not sure if your equipment is up to par, schedule an appointment with a professional.

Ihn Company is your one-stop-shop for all Milwaukee plumbing and foundation repair services. Contact us today and save yourself the money and headache of unexpected problems arising.

5 Reasons Why You Should Have Regular Furnace Maintenance

As the weather rapidly changes and temperatures lower, you should ensure that you and your family are able to stay warm. Your furnace’s heat provides warmth that is circulated throughout your home, and if a problem arises, it can be costly to replace.

Here are five reasons you should have regular furnace maintenance to keep your furnace in tip-top shape all winter long.

1. Furnace Maintenance Lowers Your Heating Bills

An efficient furnace should be able to pull air and heat it, then move it throughout your home. When working properly, your furnace doesn’t need to work too hard to produce the correct amount of heat. That’s not true with a dirty furnace though. A dirty furnace will work much harder than it needs to, which in turn uses additional energy and costs more to operate.

Furnace maintenance checks that your furnace isn’t at risk of expensive repair or replacement expenses in the future.

2. Keep Your Furnace Lasting Longer

Furnaces on average can last about 15 to 20 years, and you should be able to get the most out of your furnace during that time. If your heating system is not receiving proper and regular maintenance, however, it will not be able to work efficiently and could break prematurely.

Preventative measures should be taken to extend the lifespan of your heating equipment. If they are not, some of your furnace parts can crack, overheat, and wear down faster than others. Regular maintenance and examinations by a professional can extend the life of your heating unit by increasing its efficiency, which will save you money.

3. Maintain Furnace Warranty

In some situations, not having routine inspections and service by a professional can void the warranty. It is often required that annual maintenance be performed to keep your equipment warranty valid. Failure to do so could potentially result in the warranty coverage being denied by the manufacturer.

You may need to look over your paperwork to determine if this is the case with your machine. The best way to avoid this situation is to make an appointment for a yearly cleaning and inspection.

4. Keep Your Family Safe

You only want the best when it comes to your home and family. A clean furnace means that you can enjoy cleaner air within your home. Once contaminants such as debris and dust are removed from your furnace, they will no longer be blown throughout the ductwork and into the air.

Furnaces are designed to release carbon monoxide into the exhaust in such a way that it is vented through an exhaust pipe to the outside of your house. A licensed professional will check for any leaks in the exhaust pipe to ensure that the carbon monoxide is exiting your home the way it should be, protecting your family from exposure.

5. Avoid Furnace Repair Costs

Repair costs can range anywhere from $50 to $800. Some common problems that you can experience are:

• Loosened ductwork
• Dirty air filters
• Improperly firing burners
• Loose wiring harnesses

A knowledgeable and experienced furnace technician can locate and address problems before they even arise. Avoid the hassle of breakdowns and unnecessary repair costs, and enjoy the benefits of an efficient, long-lasting heating system instead.

Schedule a Furnace Maintenance Appointment

The winter season is tough enough without your furnace dying or not producing enough heat. The Ihn Company has heating system experts available 24/7 for emergency repairs in the Milwaukee area. Contact us today and see what a worry-free winter full of comfort and warmth feels like!

Top 5 Signs Your Home Needs Foundation Repair

Worried your home is in need of foundation repair? You should be. Milwaukee’s marshy base means building foundations are constantly shifting and sinking here.

As a homeowner, maintaining the integrity of the foundation can be the difference between a safe, livable home and one that has a slew of structural problems. It all starts at the bottom.

But knowing whether or not your foundation is in trouble can be challenging since it’s not something you can see. Luckily, there are ways to know your foundation is an issue since clues will appear inside the home where you can see them.

Read on to learn the top five signs your home is in need of foundation repair.

cracked brick wall showing need of foundation repair

1. Fractures or Cracks

If you’ve started noticing cracks in your walls or ceiling, this could be a sign something is wrong with the foundation. It likely signifies the foundation is shifting, causing the rest of the house to move with it.

Several factors can contribute to a shifting foundation, including the soil and moisture under the foundation and even small earthquakes or weather damage over time. Our advice:

  • Determine whether your cracks are moving horizontally or vertically. Different cracks can mean different things and some may just be cosmetic, with no cause for further concern.
  • Watch for cracks on the exterior of the home as well, and be sure to ask a professional to help determine if the cracks are purely cosmetic or the result of a shifting foundation.

2. Sinking

You may notice that one area of your home is lower than the other or has begun to sink over time. This is something you’ll be able to tell simply by looking at the interior floor.

This could mean that the foundation is sinking and there is a problem. It can usually be fixed by having the foundation raised either in the area where it’s sinking or around the perimeter of the home to raise the whole thing and prevent further problems.

3. Rising

If your home isn’t sinking but is rising in certain areas, this could also mean there’s an issue with the foundation. If you notice parts of your floor are beginning to pop up or almost appear like something is bursting from below, this is a problem.

Be sure to look around the exterior of the home for this as well. Since most rising occurs near the edges of the home, you may notice an upheaval around the garage door or doors that lead to the outside.

4. Gaps

A shifting foundation can cause gaps to become apparent in certain parts of the home. If you see that your door frames are separating from the walls or that your cabinets have cracks or space between them and the drywall, this is a sign.

You can also watch for gaps around window frames since they’ll have the same visual appearance as the gaps around the doors. You may see that doors no longer align with the frames around them and have trouble opening or closing.

5. Uneven Floors

Slightly less noticeable than sagging or popping floors is an uneven floor. This could be hard to see but could signify the same type of issue. If you feel your floors are sloping or bowing, there is likely a settling or upheaval from the foundation.

This could mean your foundation is moving, and you’ll want to have it looked at so the problem can be solved quickly.

Don’t Stall on Foundation Repair

Now that you know the signs that you need foundation repair, get your issue looked at right away. You don’t want to delay fixing this problem as it could lead to bigger and more costly issues down the road.

We’d love to help! Contact us today for more information.

The Key Benefits of a Perforated Drain Tile System

Drain Tile repair around Sump Pump Milwaukee Home

What if you lost your most precious memories because your home flooded? This is an unfortunate reality for homeowners all across the country. Fortunately, there’s a way to protect your home and your memories.

The solution is to install a perforated drain tile system. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of this system.

What Is a Perforated Drain Tile System?

With this system, your basement floor is excavated and perforated with pipes that are covered by gravel, filter paper, and a drain grate. After the system is installed, water coming into your basement is absorbed into the gravel before gathering inside the drain tile and being carried out to a sump pit and storm drain.

By collecting and disposing of water that makes its way into your basement in this way, the system protects your basement and home from the accumulation of water. That, in turn, helps protect it from the serious damage that water can cause.

Other Benefits

Saves Time

Installing a perforated drain tile system is a real time-saver compared to the alternatives. That’s because other ways of protecting your home from flooding involve excavating the exterior of your home. That means tearing down any existing decks or paved surfaces in your way before you can even begin excavating.

By contrast, installing an interior system doesn’t disrupt the exterior of your home. And it offers quicker installation.

It’s Future Proof

Protecting the basement of your home from potential flooding is important. However, some homeowners think that means giving up on using that space for any purpose other than guarding against floods.

With a perforated drain tile system, though, your basement retains all of the potential it previously had. By adding a water vapor wall barrier, you can still fully finish your basement area without worrying about potential damage from water and mold.

In this way, you have all the basement protection you want without sacrificing the big plans you’ve always had for your basement.

Very Affordable

Not only are perforated drain tiles time-savers, they cost quite a bit less than alternative solutions. Whether you’re doing it yourself or letting a professional handle it, installing this kind of interior system costs far less than doing any kind of extensive exterior excavations and modifications.

The Bottom Line

Now you know the many benefits of a perforated drain tile system. But do you know who can help you install it?

To see how we can help protect your basement from flooding, contact us today for an estimate or visit our website for more information. 

What to Expect From Your Home Foundation Repair

worker waterproofing foundation during repair

The last thing a homeowner wants to hear is that their foundation needs repairs. Needing repair typically means that the earth around a person’s home has moved enough to cause harm to the house. This is usually caused by water or soil movement, but either way, it is mostly out of the homeowner’s control.

On average, foundation repairs in the Pewaukee area cost $4,000, depending on the extent of the damage. Some kinds of repairs may cost as little as $500, however, and others can cost homeowners more than $11,000.

No matter the cost, a home foundation repair can be a lengthy and confusing process. If you’ve never gone through it, here’s what you can expect during your home foundation repair.

Be Prepared to Clear a Perimeter Around Your Home

Contractors will need to dig under your home to do repairs, and that means digging around it. While some contractors may just dig under the spots that need care, it is safer to assume they will want access from all around your home.

If you’re a gardener, be sure to move your plants before they begin their work. You will also want to remove any other decorations you have around your home.

Also, expect many holes to appear around your home while the work is done. It may not look pretty, but it will save you from future damage!

Your Home May Rise a Few Inches

When your home starts to lose its foundation because of soil moving underneath it, contractors stabilize it with piers. These piers reach deep into the ground and make sure the foundation stops moving.

Concrete piers are used more commonly than steel ones since they are cheaper and can withstand a lot of weight. However, steel piers will last practically forever and may be worth investing in, even if they are more expensive. In areas where there soil shifting is common—like Pewaukee—the investment often pays off in the long run.

After the piers are installed, the house is lifted onto them. This can mean your house may raise one to four inches, depending on the severity of the damage.

If you have an external staircase leading up to the front door or any other external features, you should prepare for the slight change in elevation.

Plumbing Repairs Usually Come with Home Foundation Repairs

Plumbing systems are usually exposed during the repair process. It may not look great, but it is a good thing. That’s because it allows your contractors to see any damage that may have occurred, which allows for timely repair and identification of potential future problems.

Although it seems so slight, house movements before the repair often lead to either general pipe damage or damage to pipe connections. Leaks usually spring from this kind of damage, which can lead to mold or mildew.

It’s Okay to be Scared of a Home Foundation Repair

There are a lot of moving parts during a home foundation repair. Contractors talk about a lot of things you’re not expected to fully understand, and the price can seem disheartening. But it is a critical kind of repair that often prevents devastating future damage.

Cracks in the wall are only the first signs of a critical foundation damage, and they will only grow if not repaired.

If you live in the Pewaukee area and suspect you need foundation repair, contact us. We can walk you through each step of the process so you know what is happening to your home and why.